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Tuesday, May 20, 2008 : 1915 Hrs      
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  • Toll mounts to 134 as new hooch tragedy strikes

    Bangalore/Krishnagiri (PTI): With parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu still reeling under a major hooch tragedy that claimed 107 lives, a fresh illicit liquor consumption incident on Tuesday claimed the lives of 27 people at villages bordering Tamil Nadu.

    The killer brew claimed 27 lives in Hebbagodi, Attibele and Sarjapur in Anekal taluk bordering Tamil Nadu, where several people had consumed the illicit liquor yesterday, police said.

    Bangalore city reported 45 deaths and Kolar 30, taking the toll to 102 in Karnataka, the sources said.

    Police in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district bordering Karnataka, said 15 more people died, increasing the toll there to 32. The sources said 45 persons were admitted to hospitals there with some from Hosur and Devanakottai.

    In Bangalore City, 15 persons died today taking the toll to 45 while 11 more died in Kolar shooting the toll up to 30, police said.

    Officials, who continued their crackdown on hooch manufacturing units, were shocked to find that the tragedy had spread to Anekal, Attibele and Hoskote.

    About 100 people are still battling for their lives in various hospitals, officials said, and expressed apprehensions that the death count might go up.

    Meanwhile, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission after visiting the tragedy-hit areas and hearing woes of the affected families, said "prima facie there appears to be a lapse on the part of the authorities".

    Commission Chairman S R Nayak, who also enquired about the health of those admitted to the state run Bowring Hospital, asked the state government to depute two IAS officers to monitor the situation and rope in private hospitals for treating the victims.

    Bowring Hospital, where patients are pouring in, lacked facilities, Nayak lamented.

    In Karnataka, two more persons were arrested in connection with the tragedy, taking the total number of arrests to four.

    Meanwhile, members of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission visited city hospitals and different areas in the state affected by the tragedy and police mounted efforts to nab Sounder Rajan, the main suspect in the Bangalore incident.

    In Krishnagiri, the Additional DGP (prohibition), G Tilakavati told PTI that six teams have been formed to nab the hooch sellers, "since the accused are now in Karnataka."

    The Krishnagiri District Collector distributed Rs 10,000 to relatives of the deceased.

    Top police officials of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu met at Krishnagiri to discuss the situation.

    PMK leader G K Mani visited the tragedy-hit areas and demanded that the Tamil Nadu government increase ex-gratia amount from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5 lakh.




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